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In Abidjan, as in the rest of the country, the racketeering practiced by the police is marring the people's lives. The country is trying to get rid of the everyday corruption that plagues Ivorian society.
The roadblocks that dot the country are a legacy of the conflicts of the past 20 years. In each, police officers are taking money from goods trucks, buses, and individuals. Since all commercial traffic is carried out by road, the racketeering generates colossal sums of money, a parallel economy that does not contribute a dime to state coffers.
These corrupt civil servants are known as the “1000-eaters” because of the 1000 CFA franc bills – that amount to 1.50€ – that they take from Ivorians. In the best of cases, they only take small sums. But sometimes, the racket turns into a mugging that may end in death.
In the Military Tribunal of Abidjan, magistrates try, with very limited means, to fight against impunity. The cases are piling up: 80 cents extorted to avoid a fine, 4500 euros against the assurance of avoiding prison time, the murder of a young student who refused to pay 3 euros to bribe a soldier... Delve at the heart of a corrupt system that causes much turmoil to tentative democracies.